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HEN we see a country, favoured in an eminent degree with fertility of soil and salubrity of climate, whose inhabitants are gifted with an unusual share of mental vivacity and physical power, presenting, from age to to age, a picture of poverty and degradation before the world; it is natural to en
quire into the causes of so strange a pheThe question, with regard to Ireland, has been asked a thousand times, and answered in as many different forms according as a moral, political, or religious bias may have swayed the feelings of the observer.
Perhaps a slight reference to the history of other nations, as well as of our own, may tend, in some degree, to unravel the mystery; for as in the human, so in the political body—altho' there may be certain peculiarities of constitution which may modify or aggravate the symptoms of disease-yet the causes of disease remain almost invariably the same. Now, however unusual it may have become to trace any national calamities to the afflictive dispensations of Heaven, it is a fact, which the history of England will clearly demonstrate, that, in proportion as the Government has lent a fostering hand to the impostures of Popery, so have the fortunes of the kingdom declined ;—and, in proportion as it has maintained its proper attitude of resistance towards this monster evil, so, however much we may have been before depressed, have we again preponderated in the balance of the world.
No. 3. Vol. I.
And not only is this true with regard to our naval, military and commercial prosperity; but, it is also singularly true as to that alarming deficiency of the means of support which now so widely prevails in the British dominions. Two hundred and fifty years ago, the Papists endeavoured to lead the ignorant to believe that peace and plenty had left our land when their own abominable idolatry was cast out. The answer of the then Bishop of Worcester is directly to our point :-"Touching their pretended plenty when Poperie ruled, wee say it is a Tale, for as great dearth was then as since. Touching our own Countrey, of which I chiefely speake, let them remember what our Chronicles note in Richard the first his time, how sharpe a scarcitie there was by the space of three or
What a Sommer that was in Edward the third his time, called the deer Sommer. In Richard the second his time what a dearth, when the people where forced to feed upon fruit to sustaine nature, as that thereby many fell into fluxes and dyed. How the childrens cries were so pittyfull for the want of foode, which their Parents had not to give them, as a stonie heart could not indure to heare. Of Henry the sixth his time, when people were forced to make bread of Fearne rootes. And to goe no further) of Acrone bread in Queene Maries time."
But with regard to other countries let us contemplate, for instance, the effects of Popery among the Cantons of Switzerland. Mr. Brockden, in his excursion to the Alps, says: “It is impossible to notice the filth, the laziness, and beggary of the Roman Catholic Cantons of Switzerland without believing that the religion of the state under which these unfortunate people live is either a direct or the remote cause of their degradation, and that it operates as a powerful check to their advancement in such a state of social comfort and moral worth as their neighbours enjoy, who are less under the influence of the Roman Church.” Indeed almost every traveller has observed that the line of demarcation that separates the Protestant from the Romish Cantons, is not geographical but moral; and that the inseparable ignorance, squalidness and poverty of the Popish districts at once proclaim the withering influences of a perverted christianity.
Let us now narrow our view again to Great Britain, and in this soil, so favoured and blessed, it will be seen that Popery, as soon as it gains the ascendant, can beat back the tide of civilization and social refinement. Look at the moral condition of Scotland, the land of naked mountains and impetuous floods--the land of storm and snow, with almost every disadvantage of soil and climate : notwithstanding the growing degeneracy of her commercial and populous towns, and the spiritual destitution of an overgrown population, we can see in the homes of her peasantry, piety, comparative prosperity and peace; and in the calendars of her courts of justice, a small amount of deep and atrocious crime. Contemplate Ireland, on the other hand, disjoined from Scotland by a narrow arm of the sea, and there you find wretchedness and want, and ignorance in the cabins of the great mass of the people—insubordination and disatisfaction pervading almost every circle—the minister of peace marked out and murdered in the open day, and the Message of Peace burned in the public streets, amid the shouts of a priestridden people ; and all this in spite of a lovely clime, a fertile soil, harbours capable of holding the navies of Britain, and rivers admirably fitted to be outlets for mercantile enterprise. Ireland has every physical advantage, Scotland every physical disadvantage, and yet Ireland is awfully unhappy, while Scotland is comparatively the reverse.
Moreover Ireland started in the race of social and national prosperity with every thing in her favour; Scotland with every thing against her.
The former Country, before the usurpation of Rome, was one of the luminaries of the Western world : the latter, during the influence of Rome, was the most enslaved of the nations of Europe. Ireland received the laws and superstitions of Rome, and, from that hour, has retrograded in morality, knowledge, and prosperity—and is miserable. Scotland broke from her fetters, and, from that hour, has advanced in national wealth, and honour, and strength—and is prosperous.
The solution is forced upon our minds, that Popery is the curse that blights and preys upon the life and strength of every land, over which the shadow of its deadly wings extends.
Our space will not allow us any further to illustrate the temporal influences of Popery, or we might press upon the Priests of Rome our proofs, till we left them no possibility of escape. But, were we even to institute a comparison between one of the sections of Ireland and the other three, we might demonstrate by history, by living witnesses, by the laws and customs, and by the calendars of the Courts of Justice, that Ulster, a Protestant province, is superior
to Connaught, Munster, and Leinster, the Popish portions of Ireland, as are Scotland and England. How then can any man shut his eyes to the fact that misery and ignorance, and vice have followed in the footsteps of Popery, like death and barrenness behind the simoon of the desert ? How can we get rid of the lesson of a universal experience, that, in countries most favoured by clime, and soil, and situation, Popery and degradation, moral and bodily, have moved athwart them; and that in countries where natural advantages are “few and far between," Protestantism, and piety, and learning, and morality have indissolubly tabernacled together?
No political measure will meliorate the condition and the prospects of a nation, while the monastery, the priest, the confessional, and all the abominations of Popery, are suffered to exert their influences on its people.
Popery would blast the happiness of an Eden ; and sweep, as with the besom of desolation, every trace of moral and intellectual improvement from the earth.
WILLIAM, Duke of Normandy, invaded England A. D. 1066, and defeated Harold, the reigning Prince, at the battle of Hastings, in Sussex. In this famous engagement, which lasted from morning till sunset, there fell 15,000 Normans; and the loss on the side of the vanquished, was yet more considerable, besides that of the King and his two brothers. William had three horses slain under him. This put an end to the Saxon monarchy in England, which had continued for more than 600 years.
The haughty Norman seized at once an Isle
THOMSON. The conquering despot became a most cruel tyrant to his English subjects. The property and honours were taken from the nobility and gentry, and given to the Normans. The country for above 30 miles was laid waste to make the New Forest in Hampshire, for the king's deer and other game; and no less than 36 churches were destroyed on this occasion : so that, as Pope remarks, he
Stretch'd o'er the poor, and church his iron rod;
THE HAPPY COMMUNITY.
(A VISION) READER, have you never been so fatigued, either by mental or physical exertion, that your couch has become a rack, your night cap an iron crown, and sleep as difficult to find as the philosopher's stone? Have you never suffered from a peculiar sort of ill health, that gives acute nervous sensibility; and a restlessness of brain that generates an endless series of ideas; making that monotonous state of mindthe sure precursor of somnolency—beyond ready attainment? We have been the martyrs of these combined evils; and when half the world have been sleeping soundly, silence has heard us invoke the dull yet benignant god, in the beautiful words of the bard of Avon.
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness. Wonder not then, that “pleasant dreams and slumbers light,” should be in our case a subject of record.
Last night was a notable and blissful one, for I had no sooner placed my head upon the pillow, than I found myself under the opiate of a sleepy lull, that soon put the genius of mental activity into a corner, the world out of my calculation and sight, and as the last idea animated itself into sluggish and undefined existence, I (proh pudor) snored !
In a moment I found myself in a region, whose melodies were more ravishing than ever resounded amongst the hills of Arcadia ; whose skies were the truest cerulean ; whose verdure was intense yet ever varied ; and whose golden sun gave life and colour to flowers, which Zephyrs kissed and soft airs fanned.
Nor was I less struck with the dwellers in this second Eden, for the ample mark of mental distinction was written on every forehead, and ignorance was with them only a matter of history, associated with the times, when men who laboured in the splendid cause of Education, were deemed euthusiasts, and left to perish under the burden of their holy toil.
I witnessed bodily industry, always so necessary to health and enjoyment, in all its varieties : the shame of labour was lost in its advantage ; and those who worked for hire, wrought under the cheering stimulus of thankful employers and equal gains. The blood-lash of the slave driver, never moved through the gentle current of this atmosphere, nor were its peaceful echoes ever broken by the task master's voice, or the hoarse edict of the tyrant.
The rustic, only such in pursuit, would make the Faradays of the old world blush, for so freed from hard names, and so simple of development, had that which we call chemistry become, that he tilled the soil on principles of wonderful precision, and earth, as is her wont, in all her bounty, paid back a hundred-fold the pains bestowed; whilst no one, being unfed, repined at Providence, or laid to the charge of heaven, ills, that result too often in the ignorance or avarice of man. The artisan was plying but not pale-faced, for luxury did not demand his health for her satisfaction, nor clothe herself in silks to leave him shirtless. I noticed that simple habits had rendered it needless for men to manufacture gew-gaws, and contrive knick-nacks: all had the necessary, none the useless; and as to fancy and fashion, the reds and yellows, the odd devices of the tailor and milliner, these were no where to be seen. The illness that is the modish loveliness of our time, and the cruel pressure that constitutes the beau ideal in form, are unknown ; for nature is left